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Junior Bonner (1972)

PG  |   |  Drama, Western  |  2 August 1972 (USA)
6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 3,693 users  
Reviews: 51 user | 25 critic

Ace Bonner returns to Arizona several years after he abandoned his family, Junior Bonner is a wild young man. Against the typical rodeo championship, family drama erupts.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Ace Bonner
...
Elvira Bonner
...
Buck Roan
...
Curly Bonner
...
Charmagne
Mary Murphy ...
Ruth Bonner
Bill McKinney ...
Red Terwiliger (as William McKinney)
...
Del
Sandra Deel ...
Nurse Arlis
...
Homer Rutledge (as Donald Barry)
Charles H. Gray ...
Burt (as Charles Gray)
Matthew Peckinpah ...
Tim Bonner
Sundown Spencer ...
Nick Bonner
Rita Garrison ...
Flashie
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Storyline

A week with Junior Bonner, a rodeo pro on the wrong side of 40, broke, bruised, and headed into Prescott, his home town, for the annual 4th of July Frontier Days. His dad, Ace, is a dissolute dreamer fixed on finding gold in Australia; his mom is resigned to Ace's roving; his brother Curly is tearing up the countryside to make a million in real estate. Junior just wants to stay on a bucking Brahma for eight seconds, hang out with Ace, find a way to spend time with a beautiful woman whose eyes catch his, and earn enough to get to next week's rodeo. As the old West and its code give way to progress, Junior is lonesome, laconic, and on the road - just where he wants to be. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

"Tell 'em Junior sent you" See more »

Genres:

Drama | Western

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

2 August 1972 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dez Segundos de Perigo  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Final film of Mary Murphy. See more »

Goofs

The wet spot on junior's mom's shirt after she comes into the house from the garden. See more »

Quotes

Curly Bonner: Junior, you're my brother, and I guess I love you. Well, we're family. I don't care what you do. You can sell one lot or a hundred lots. I'm just tryin' to keep us together.
Junior 'JR' Bonner: I gotta go down my own road.
Curly Bonner: What road? I mean, I'm workin' on my first million, and you're still workin' on eight seconds.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Passion & Poetry: Sam's Trucker Movie (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Arizona Morning
Words and Music by Rod Hart
Sung by Rod Hart
See more »

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User Reviews

 
"To Those That Have The Road Ahead Of Them"
17 January 2007 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

When Robert Preston makes that toast to his grandchildren at some level he knows his best days are behind him. But he's determined to live out his life to the fullest. Drinking, wenching, prospecting for gold and just hanging around the rodeo because it's his way of life.

It's the way of life for his son Steve McQueen and McQueen was 42 years old when Junior Bonner was made. Even if you figure he might be playing younger than his actual age by about five to seven, that's older than Methusaleh in the rodeo game. Especially as McQueen participates in the most dangerous of events.

In the intervening years since Junior Bonner came out, bullriding has spun out on its own as a single event competition and the best in that sport participate in the Professional Bull Riders as opposed to the all around rodeo events as you see depicted in Presscott, Arizona. As I write this review, the leading bull rider in the country right now is 20 year old J.B. Mauney in terms of point standings. The difference between young Mr. Mauney and the character of Junior Bonner is a whole generation. The skill and the know how is the same, the experience is on McQueen's side to be sure. But those cowboys can sustain some serious injuries and at J.B. Mauney's age he is capable of bouncing back a whole lot faster than Junior Bonner.

McQueen knows this, but it's the way of life that he and his father love dearly. They're active, vital, and vibrant men and no one's going to tell them to act their age, least of all Ida Lupino as Preston's wife and McQueen's mother or Joe Don Baker as her other real estate selling son to whose children Preston makes the title toast.

Junior Bonner is skimpy on plot, but long on characterization. Normally that's not something I like, but in this case it fits the film perfectly. The story is simply about a rodeo family's day at the Presscott Frontier Days Rodeo. It's about Lupino and Baker who have aged and accepted that times change and Preston and McQueen who haven't.

Preston's hoping that if McQueen wins some prize money, he'll stake him to a trip to Australia where there's still wild country to tame. McQueen though his best days are behind him, still loves the life and has a personal goal of riding an unridable bull, Sunshine. In fact he requests stock contractor and prime mover at the Frontier Days Rodeo, Ben Johnson, to make sure he draws Sunshine.

McQueen's goals are a longshot, but not unreasonable. Last year's PBR champion was 36 year old Adriano Moraes showing the younger riders the older men still have something. But how much is left in the cup, only the Deity knows.

Sam Peckinpaugh directed the film to perfection capturing the mood and ambiance of the rodeo scene. The casting is also to perfection with folks like Bill McKinney, Dub Taylor, Donald Barry all western regulars giving standout performances. The violence that usually characterizes a Peckinpaugh film is noticeably absent, but the rodeo is a good subject for his patented slow motion takes.

Junior Bonner joins a great pantheon of rodeo films like The Lusty Men, J.W. Coop, and 8 Seconds in depicting the hard, but rewarding life as a rodeo performer. And this review is dedicated to all the cowboys, to the Adriano Moraeses and the J.B. Mauneys who risk life and limb in the dirt arena trying to do their personal best at what they love.


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